Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Special Education Curriculum


Let's talk Special Education curriculum! We all know that no one size fits all in the special Ed classroom and finding curriculum for our students can be a challenge! 


Well, I'm here to say...
AND not to burst your bubble...
but not to sugar coat anything either...
there is no "SPED Curriculum" that's going to meet the needs of all of our students. Unique Learning System (ULS) is the only "SPED Curriculum" I know of and even with ULS you still have to pull from here and there and supplement, and it doesn't meet the needs of "ALL" of our learners. I have 14 students and only use it with 3 of my students.

I teach grades 4 - 6 and their levels are all over the place. I have students working at a KG level and students working at a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade level. I also have students that are only with me due to behavior and they are working at their grade level; a 4 - 6 grade level. So I have a lot of different levels I have to plan for! 

So if you thought you were going to read this post and have all of your curriculum worries solved...no! But what I do plan to do is provide you with some tools and curriculum that have been helpful for myself and other special education teachers. It's still up to you to find out what will work best for your students and your classroom.

LET'S GET STARTED!! 
SCOPE & SEQUENCE

First, to begin I recommend having some sort of scope and sequence or a map of what you want your students to achieve and learn throughout the year...and then differentiate, differentiate, differentiate! For example, when we do money in whole group...some of my students are directed to count out 48 cents, some 3 cents, and some are doing "Touch Money" and need dots drawn on their coins. I have grade level learners that may be solving a word problem using money. A scope and sequence will save your sanity throughout the year and help you with planning the appropriate  curriculum for each of your students without leaving anything out. 

Here is an intermediate scope and sequence that I designed for my classroom. Note: It doesn't meet the needs of my 3 students on a functional/life skills curriculum. They are on a separate curriculum.



Download this scope and sequence here.

LET'S DIVE INTO CURRICULUM! 
READING
Before shopping and investing in an expensive curriculum for your classroom (that may not work for next year's group) check to see if the curriculum your school already has available in GE will work. It's okay to use GE curriculum at the student's level. So for instance, if you have a 4th grade student working at a first grade level in math, then acquire a copy of the first grade math textbook/materials adopted by your school/district. The one thing I found with this is that many of the GE textbooks move on to quickly, while our students need more time spent on a skill. That's fine! One nice thing about special Ed is you can take your time and reteach a lesson if you need to and you can always add supplemental resources for additional practice opportunities if you need to.

Also, know that all core adopted textbooks and curriculum being used at your school in GE always have an adapted intervention component to address the needs of learners working below grade level. Many times it is a separate kit, so be sure to ask for the below level intervention kit.

If modifying the curriculum already used at your school doesn't work, here are some reading programs that I have used and found effective. I absolutely LOVE every one of these depending on what my students needed at the time.
Read Well
A K - 3 reading curriculum that I love and currently use it in my classroom. I have seen great results with it. It is very expensive...I was just lucky enough to inherit it after it was faded out at my school. 

Edmark
I hear a lot of great things about Edmark and know teachers that use it daily. I liked Edmark for my very beginning readers, but once they began reading I felt I needed to transition them to a different program. You are the only judge for what works for your students.


Phonics for Reading
A grades 3 - HS intervention program; I love Phonics for Reading and highly recommend it for beginning readers.

Wilson Reading System
For grades 2 - 12, I just started using this program in my classroom last year and it is my ultimate favorite. I'm slowly transitioning my "Read Well" students to it. It highly recommends training to use the program, but if you are a self-learner like myself, and watch the videos, you can figure it out. It is very inexpensive and the results have been fabulous. This is the starter set I have here.


Interactive Reading Notebooks
These Interactive Reading Notebooks are fabulous for those fidgety students needing to keep their hands busy. I use these daily with 2 of my students. This year-long program is a great reading curriculum designed specifically for Special Ed that includes fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, WH questions, and a summative assessment.

MATH

Equals Math
I have not used Equals Math, but it is highly recommended by numerous special education teachers. 

Go Math
I have not used Go Math, but it is another highly recommended math curriculum by numerous special education teachers. 

Connecting Math
I have not used Connecting Math, but it is also recommended by other special education teachers.

180 Days of Math
If you're looking for a supplemental daily review, "180 Days of Math" is great. I own all of these grade K - 5 and love using them for continuous review and practice.
Math Minutes
Math Minutes are another one of my go-tos for daily supplemental practice and review. I own these for grades 1 - 5 and my students complete a math minute every morning. 

Touch Math
If you haven't heard of Touch Math, you need to find out about it. Touch Math is how many of my students have learned how to add, subtract, and count money. It's an amazing accommodation that works!!

WRITING

Step Up To Writing (SUTW)
Step Up To Writing is my most FAVORITE tool and curriculum for teaching writing. I have used it for the last 10 years with great success and it is all I will ever use at this point! I highly recommend it! It's so perfect for teaching writing to special needs learners and uses a color coded system.

Grammar Minutes
Another favorite supplemental review activity that I do with my students to supplement our grammar lesson and writing activity, and keep that review and practice going.

SOCIAL STUDIES
Simply Social Studies
Social Studies has always been a struggle for me with my student population, but I started this program by Cara Carroll last year and I like it. I do have to adapt it to challenge my higher students, but it gives me a foundation to go on and is perfect for my younger, lower students. There are 8 units, but only 5 are currently finished and posted. While it's not "perfect" for my class, it is the most appropriate S.S. curriculum I have found. 

SCIENCE
I love this science curriculum from Tara West, but now that she has created a 2nd grade curriculum, I think that would better suit my students, as just like the social studies, I have had to adapt it to meet the needs of my higher students. I like that it gives me that foundation to build upon though, rather than feeling like I have to start from scratch.


Science for a Year
The best part of science is the EXPERIMENTS! My students will definitely agree! This science kit has so many experiments that I can repeat experiments year after year and my students love them just as much! We never run out of SCIENCE! Plus with 3 levels of differentiated recording sheets, all of my students can participate equally!

SOCIAL SKILLS
Boys Town
Boys Town has a lot of detailed social skills lessons and posters that walk you through each lesson to effectively teach the skill. I highly recommend it. 

KinderSocialSkills
I love this social skills program by Tara West, but it was a little too low and below grade level for my students. If you have students in PK - 2, or students with that level mentality, it is perfect and highly recommended.
Wondergrove Kids
If you have younger students you'll LOVE Wondergrove Kids! I used to use it when I had younger students and it's fabulous...just not age appropriate for my current older students. 

While planning for various levels and having no curriculum for our students can be frustrating, there is no one size fits all for our special needs students...how can there be? Our students are all unique in their own way. They are all learning at different levels and in their own way! I pull from here and there and buy supplemental materials that focus on one skill so they can get that extra practice they need. I focus on teaching basic life skills math they I know they'll need in life like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, time, and money.

Start with your scope and sequence and determine what you want your students to learn. Plan your programs from there and differentiate. Here are some websites that focus solely on special education materials/resources that you will find helpful.

*proedinc.com
*remediapublications.com
*Attainmentcompany.com
*Ablenetinc.com
*superduperinc.com


Sunday, September 16, 2018

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up!

Welcome! Every Sunday I host this freebie link up here on my blog for Special Education Teachers! Visit every week to download free resources for your classroom! If this is your first time visiting, you can access all of the freebies from previous link ups by clicking on "SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies" under "My Files" on my right sidebar. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you're a TPT seller, blogger, or resource creator, I invite you to link up and share your own freebie(s) using the link up tool below! 


Link Up Rules

1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie does not have to be related specifically to SPED, but should be practical for SPED.
5. If you are linking up from your blog, using this image in your post and linking back to my blog is not required, but is greatly appreciated! 

6. Share this image on your social media so others can enjoy all of these freebies!

*I recommend using an image of your freebie & not your button when linking up. 

 Feel free to share the image above all over your social media to let other teachers know about these freebies! 

The link up tool will close on Saturday each week, but "forever" freebies will remain accessible! Come back every Sunday to link up or download new freebies!


Sunday, September 9, 2018

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up!

Welcome! Every Sunday I host this freebie link up here on my blog for Special Education Teachers! Visit every week to download free resources for your classroom! If this is your first time visiting, you can access all of the freebies from previous link ups by clicking on "SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies" under "My Files" on my right sidebar. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you're a TPT seller, blogger, or resource creator, I invite you to link up and share your own freebie(s) using the link up tool below! 


Link Up Rules

1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie does not have to be related specifically to SPED, but should be practical for SPED.
5. If you are linking up from your blog, using this image in your post and linking back to my blog is not required, but is greatly appreciated! 

6. Share this image on your social media so others can enjoy all of these freebies!

*I recommend using an image of your freebie & not your button when linking up. 

 Feel free to share the image above all over your social media to let other teachers know about these freebies! 

The link up tool will close on Saturday each week, but "forever" freebies will remain accessible! Come back every Sunday to link up or download new freebies!


Sunday, September 2, 2018

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up

Welcome! Every Sunday I host this freebie link up here on my blog for Special Education Teachers! Visit every week to download free resources for your classroom! If this is your first time visiting, you can access all of the freebies from previous link ups by clicking on "SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies" under "My Files" on my right sidebar. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you're a TPT seller, blogger, or resource creator, I invite you to link up and share your own freebie(s) using the link up tool below! 


Link Up Rules

1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie does not have to be related specifically to SPED, but should be practical for SPED.
5. If you are linking up from your blog, using this image in your post and linking back to my blog is not required, but is greatly appreciated! 

6. Share this image on your social media so others can enjoy all of these freebies!

*I recommend using an image of your freebie & not your button when linking up. 

 Feel free to share the image above all over your social media to let other teachers know about these freebies! 

The link up tool will close on Saturday each week, but "forever" freebies will remain accessible! Come back every Sunday to link up or download new freebies!



Tuesday, August 7, 2018

20 Brilliant Teacher Hacks You'll Love!



Hi, I'm sharing 20 brilliant teacher hacks with you today that you will absolutely LOVE! Some that I currently use in my own classroom and some I just recently discovered! Read on as you're going to want to start using these hacks in your classroom right away!

*All of these hacks are from Instagram and therefore photo credit links for each photo will take you to the original author's Instagram account. 
1. Cut your composition books/journals in half to stretch them out and save paper. I do this as well for my students' morning work journals and their  writing journals. {Idea & photo courtesy of @thespedhead}

2. Use these inexpensive, portable, battery operated lights as a Classroom Voice Level Indicator. {Idea & photo courtesy of @misscourtneysclass}


3. Have no place to hang backpacks and they keep falling off the chairs? Tired of tripping on them? Try hanging them on a Command hook on the back of students' seats. {Image unkown}

4. Store your bulletin board borders on a dowel rod on a shelf. I've also seen them stored in icing containers too! {Idea & image courtesy of @nicoleallisonslp}


5. Use a shower caddy on or beside your whiteboard to store your markers, erasers, and flashcards. I always keep "my" markers separate from my "students' markers," because they always ruin my good ones by pressing down too hard and/or leaving the caps loose. I actually just made this for my own classroom, but haven't been to my classroom yet to hang it! #summerbreak "Learning in Wonderland" offers this printable for free on her blog here. {Idea & image courtesy of  @learninginwonderland}

6. This door stopper hack from @teaching&muchmoore is exactly what I needed for my classroom. I leave my door locked at all times (for emergencies & drill procedures), but slightly cracked with a magnetic metal clip that holds it slightly open. When people come and go, it slams against the clip really loud! So thank you for this idea I will be implementing this year! I just bought my pool noodle today for just 2 bucks! {Idea & image courtesy of @teaching&muchmoore}

7. Glue Sponges!! Best.Thing.Ever!!! I love glue sponges and so will you if your students use a lot of glue. I totally despise glue bottles and glue sticks. With glue bottles my students tend to put WAY too much and with glue sticks, they press too hard, break them, go through them way too rapidly, and leave the caps loose, so they dry out! I am a total glue sponge girl. I've been using them for about 3 years now! Read Angie's tutorial here on how to make your own. {Idea & image courtesy of @luckylittlelearners}

8. Use magnetic towel rods to display your anchor charts. I keep saying I'm going to do this for two years now and still have not, but looks brilliant. {Idea & image courtesy of @peppyzestyteacherista}

9. I just made this a couple nights ago and I'm so excited to hang and fill it when I get back in my classroom tomorrow. Mine has 24 pockets. It's a hanging shoe bag...I got mine from Amazon here...and "We Heart Teaching" has the labels for free in her store here. {Idea & image courtesy of @weheartteaching}

10. Ahhh, yes, velcro! This hack is from "Teach Love Autism" and it's just brilliant and she explains it right here! {Idea & image courtesy of @teachloveautism}

11. This is brilliant for a simple "never get lost" bookmark and page marker! Love it! Tape a piece of ribbon in the back of the book and students place the ribbon on the page they stopped on. This way they can easily find their page each day.  I did this last year when we were using Interactive Notebooks and it worked perfectly! Of course I had that ONE student that decided to tear his out! But maybe tying a reward to this could help if this is a problem. {Author Unknown}

12. Is this not just the GREATEST and most CLEVER!? Need to number your iPads?? Amy Groesbeck numbers hers this way with a wallpaper selfie!!! I love this so much! {Idea & image courtesy of @theamygroesbeck}

13. These 3 compartment containers apparently store all of your Base Ten Blocks; your tens, ones, and hundreds as individual student containers for hands-on activities! Apparently, they are from Dollar Tree, but not at my Dollar Tree! I have been on a hunt for these containers! They are out of stock on Dollar Tree Online and I have ordered two different sets from Amazon...neither big enough to hold the hundreds! Seriously, and this is NO JOKE! If you can find these at your Dollar Tree...I believe they are "Sure Seal," and send me a set of 5...they come in sets of 3 (I need 15), I will send the very first person to purchase and mail these to me a $100 store credit to my store! {Author Unknown}


14. Use "Repositionable Glue Sticks" to make anything in your classroom a sticky note! Seriously...I can make anything a STICKY NOTE??? I can't wait to get my hands on this stuff!! {Idea & image courtesy of @aroundthekampfire}

15. Need a room divider or privacy curtain?? Check out this simple alternative. Erin from "You Auta Know" creates one using a shower curtain, binder clips, and a garment rack from Amazon for less than $30 bucks. I shopped for dividers last year and couldn't find a decent one for under $100 bucks! {Idea & image courtesy of @youautaknow}

16. As special education teachers, we need to have our timers handy at ALL times. I personally wear mine on a lanyard around my neck, but this is a wonderful teacher hack if you'd prefer to wear it around your wrist. {Idea & image courtesy of @tinasteachingtreasures}

17. Everyone has their own thing about headphones, but headphones were a nightmare for me until I started this system last year; thanks to the inspiration of "A Smiling Teacher." This is a "double pocket shoe bag" (meaning each pocket holds two shoes, making it large enough for headphones) and I purchased it from Amazon here. @asmilingteacher offers the labels in her store here. It's also helped in teaching my students responsibility and how to take care of their things and put them away when they're done.

18.  I don't know about you, but we can't keep erasers on our pencils, because my students literally eat them. Or...OK...I'll admit...sometimes the pencils are just so cheap, the erasers just remove themselves after a couple of uses. :) Anyway, for this reason, I always have alternative erasers on hand at each table. My teacher hack is cut them in half as shown above to stretch them out!

19. Can't believe I didn't think of this! I worked so hard last year on getting my students to write "margin to margin," and you mean all I had to do is place a piece of tape on the margin Miss Decarbo?? Thank you for this! {Idea & image courtesy of @missdecarbo}

20. A hack I learned two years ago and it works amazingly! It makes students hold their pencils down below! This was a tip from one of my student's Occupational Therapist. 

Do you have a "brilliant" teacher hack I missed?? Let me know in the comments and send me a picture and I will add it to this post!!

Be sure to follow all of these lovely people on Instagram using the links to their IG page posted on each hack!

There were a couple of hacks I did not have an author to credit. If you recognize them, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!



 PIN these images to SAVE these hacks for LATER!